EU doubles its COVAX contribution, promising €1bn for safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines

The addition of €500 million to the EU’s existing COVAX Facility pledge was announced at the G7 summit virtual leaders’ meeting.

Symbol for euros in centre of European Union flag (blue with a central circle of golden stars) surrounded by Euro bank notes - idea of EU funding

The European Union has stated it will contribute an additional €500 million to the COVAX Facility, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, doubling its initial contribution to the global initiative. COVAX is leading efforts to secure fair and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in low and middle-income countries.

According to the European Commission (EC), the new pledge brings us closer to achieving COVAX’s target of delivering 1.3 billion doses for 92 low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2021. It also means Team Europe is one of the lead contributors to COVAX, with over €2.2 billion promised, including a €900 million contribution pledged on the same day by Germany.

Announcing the new contribution at the G7 virtual leaders’ meeting, President of the EC, Ursula von der Leyen, stated: “Last year, as part of our Coronavirus Global Response, we committed to ensuring universal access to vaccines everywhere on Earth, for everyone who would need them. COVAX is best placed to help us reach this goal. This is why we decided to double the European Commission’s contribution to COVAX, to €1.0 billion. With this new financial boost we want to make sure vaccines are soon delivered to low and middle-income countries. Because we will only be safe if the whole world is safe.”

The new contribution is composed of a new €300 million EU grant and €200 million in guarantees by the European Fund for Sustainable Development plus (EFSD+) that will back a loan by the European Investment Bank (EIB). This is subject to the adoption of the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) by the Council and the European Parliament. The EIB loan to be guaranteed by EFSD+ is subject to the approval of the EIB’s Board of Directors. These funds will complement a previous €100 million grant and €400 million in guarantees from the EU budget.

So far, 191 countries have agreed to participate in the COVAX Facility, 92 of them low and middle-income economies eligible to get access to COVID-19 vaccines through Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC). Most of these are in Africa. Through these contributions, the Commission and its partners will secure purchase options for future COVID-19 vaccines for all the participants in the Facility.

Vaccines will be procured and delivered to countries by the UNICEF Supply Division and the PAHO’s Revolving Fund for Access to Vaccines.

Stella Kyriakides, EC Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, stressed: “Humanism and solidarity are essential values for Europe. These values have been our compass since the onset of the pandemic. The EU has invested close to €3 billion to pre-finance the production of safe and effective vaccines, which will benefit not only the EU but citizens across the world.  Vaccines produced in Europe are now going all over the world and we as Team Europe are working to share doses secured under our advanced purchase agreements preferably through COVAX with the Western Balkans, Neighborhood and Africa – benefitting above all health workers and humanitarian needs.”